Professional cycling fans will get their wish after all: Rock Racing will be a part of the 2008 Tour de Georgia presented by AT&T after reaching a settlement with race organizer, Medalist Sports, LLC.
The overwhelming favorite pro team in a recent online poll by Bicycling Magazine, Rock Racing will be a part of the six-day, 660-mile stage race that begins Monday, April 21. The team’s roster for the race will be announced in the coming days.
“The fans told us they wanted us to be there,” says Team Owner Michael Ball. “We are pleased that we were able to work with Medalist to come to a mutually beneficial decision. Now the race will truly field the best of the best of international and domestic pro cycling teams which will only build on the momentum created for domestic cycling at the Tour of California.”
Today’s decision was made after ProTour team Saunier Duval-Scott announced they would not be racing due to numerous injuries of key riders. Rock Racing had filed an injunction earlier this month to be allowed entry into the race.
A hearing in the case was scheduled for earlier today but the two parties settled out of court.
Ball said a flood of e-mails, letters and phone calls from fans in support of the team could not be ignored.
“The team is ready to race. Santiago Botero’s win and the team’s performance at Redlands is a clear indication of what to expect next week in Georgia,” said Ball.
Rock Racing’s Botero convincingly won the Redlands Bicycle Classic by 54 seconds in his first ever race in the United States. In capturing the overall, Botero also won the King of the Mountains classification and one stage of the four-day race.
At the Amgen Tour of California in February, Rock Racing was equally impressive by scoring seven top 10 finishes during the seven-stage, 650-mile race. To date in 2008, the team has won six races and registered 15 podium finishes.